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[1997-04-15-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa vs Daisuke Ikeda

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What a super match. Neither guy wants to give an inch, so each guy has to work hard to earn every hold. Want to land a strike? Prepare to go into overdrive. At first headbutts are the great equalizer when all else fails. Then the match becomes more of a boxing slugfest. Then Ikeda starts biting Ishikawa's foot to angle him into an anklelock position. This doesn't last long, so Ikeda gets desperate, stalling for time by rolling outside the ring. I love how well these two know each other, as when Ishikawa takes Ikeda to the mat, he instinctively puts his forearms up to cover his face. This isn't just about brutality, it's also about familiarity. The guy who can pull off the most unexpected attack is the one who will win, and that's a tall order for two long-term rivals.

 

How do you beat someone who knows you so well? Even basic spots from Ishikawa like (rather snug) side headlocks and figure fours reach their logical counter in very quick fashion. Ikeda is weakened, but he's fighting on instinct, and his familiarity with Ishikawa's attack is the only thing really keeping him in this. And as we know, familiarity breeds contempt, so we get lots of stiff shots and fire, even in spite of the sportsmanship at the end.

 

That the match lasted as long as it did fits the match story perfectly. They are both especially stubborn and know what to expect from the other guy so much that it's going to take something big to secure a win. So it naturally takes a while to get to that point.

 

The story of the match is so rich that it's almost easy to overlook the "cool" moments like Ishikawa's surprise rana and the stiffness of Ishikawa's high knees. This is worked in a way where Ikeda seems completely outmatched, bloody mouth and all, but his resilience makes every bit the lasting impression as Ishikawa's aggression.

 

This feels like the peak of where a pro wrestling rivalry can go, yet it's just barely getting started. Seriously, I'm not sure how they can top this, and I'm not sure they will. But I look forward to seeing them try. This is as good as almost any match from the decade, and is one of the best matches I've ever seen.

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This was probably the first great match between these great rivals, though I agree with OJ that they topped it in '98 and '99. I loved all the little bits of nastiness, from Ikeda biting Ishikawa's toes to Ishikawa repeatedly punching Ikeda in his taped ribs. They came up with so many great counters. But at root, these guys worked off one of the most traditional dynamics in combat sports -- great striker (Ikeda) vs. more rounded fighter (Ishikawa). And that just never gets old if done well. This was another 30-minute draw where fatigue and desperation elevated the last few minutes. Not sure I liked this quite as much as Loss, but it would probably be in my top 10 for the year to date.

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THis flew by and the shoot style stuff for 1997 has been great. I know these guys have a huge history (Childs, anyway you can fill me in on the dates of their big matches, I know about the 1998, 1999, and 2005 hyped ones). Watching these two go for the first time was like seeing a Misawa vs. Kawada match for the first time in the sense that you know these two are married to each other and if this is just their first big match, I can't wait to see what else is in store. The work here appropriately escalated but their was so many logical touches which really set the match off for me.

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Another fed, another set of rules I need to learn. :) This feels more wrestling oriented though with raking faces and pulling hair to try break holds. Ikeda has his ribs taped up. Ishikawa needs to be going after them more. I liked how even things were between them and the back and forth but I’m not going to praise it anywhere like you guys. Went long and there were times I got myself distracted. It probably needs complete focus and attention but I just couldn’t bring myself to that.

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Maybe a low-level MOTYC, and that's saying something considering shoot-style time limit draws are usually something that send me running to hide. This is as stiff and intense as a mat-based match gets, and always verges on the edge of teetering out of control with both guys breaking the rules to subtle degrees--from the foot-biting to kicking while down to being late to break holds--but it never quite gets there over the course of its 30 minutes. Parity is the name of the game here, despite the two different approaches in style, and is a draw that actually works in making you want to see these two go at it again.

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Good Lord, it's another expiration. I'm not complaining, as like the Rings match from 4/4 there's plenty to appreciate here. Hard hitting, stiff physicality combined with skilled matwork. The restrained pacing helped to produce a consistently good level throughout. They tried to step it up towards the end, but the quality didn't fluctuate much. I was always engaged throughout the 30m, though at times my thoughts drifted towards the homoerotic undertones. Not like Dragon Gate. It's the intimacy, the machismo, the flagellation and the absolute maleness of the environment. The crowd was fairly quiet, but they were into it. At times Ishikawa could barely contain how much he was enjoying himself out there. All wrestlers have certain masochistic leanings, some more than others. They were evenly matched and a draw was the right result.

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I know people prefer their 98-99 stuff or their 4/2005 Futen bout but this for me is the best Ikeda-Ishikawa match and an all time classic. I also think it's the best 30 minute draw ever. Ikeda is pretty much perfect as the injured underdog trying to survive an aggressive Ishikawa using focused counterattacks. I always got the impression that Ishikawa was presented as the superior wrestler and Ikeda was always working from underneath in some ways (even when he was the heel) whenever these guys faced off but it was most obvious in this match. Unbelievable sense of struggle throughout the match, superb mix of intense matwork and crazy stiff strikes with classic pro wrestling counters and build. The pinnacle of the hybrid style. ****5/8

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What a draw. They continue to play off their respective roles and early on, Ishikawa shows Ikeda that he can’t survive off kicks alone, taking him to the ropes…and then immediately afterward, Ikeda blasts him with a boot to the forehead. They transition from holds to strikes to suplexes, with Ishikawa utilizing some nifty counters. Then it sort of settles back down on the mat, with Ikeda mostly staying on the arm, occasionally straight punching Ishikawa in the face to set up an armbar. I really liked Ishikawa using the headbutts to get Ikeda off the ropes for the German suplex. And then, of course, Ikeda using the full nelson and almost deadlifting Ishikawa up into a dragon suplex. During the final minutes, they start with the big strikes to try and finish it, and you can tell they’re both completely exhausted, especially Ishikawa, who can’t manage much of anything on the mat. He hits a fisherman buster in desperation, trying to secure the arm, but Ikeda rolls to the ropes as the time limit expires. Great stuff.

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Yuki Ishikawa vs Daisuke Ikeda - BattlArts 4/15/97

 

Clearly Stephanie watched a lot of Ishikawa vs Ikeda to learn her cross arm breaker defense. :P

 

We don't talk about defense enough in pro wrestling. More often than not it is because pro wrestlers don't care about defense. Offense, selling, bumps & highspots are the band of the game and high level pro wrestlers understand transitions. But very few think in terms of defense. These two are superb defensive wrestlers & they put on a defense clinic. Just in case, you are new to the game Ikeda is the stand up striker & Ishikawa is the wrestler in this Tom & Jerry feud of pro wrestling. That is not to take away the capabilities of the other in other's domain. Ikeda applied many submissions and Ishikawa rocked Ikeda with some wicked palm strikes and punches. What makes this great is not how well-rounded in offense these two are but how good they are at defending. Ishikawa was taking Ikeda down at will but once on the mat he couldn't put Ikeda away. In fact many times Ikeda ended up in dominant position. I would say the first half Ikeda held the lead. He was landing the bigger blows. Getting a standing 8 count. Big open hand slaps and some wicked kicks. The roundhouse to throats was nasty. Ishikawa had some good throws back duplex & belly to belly suplex but on the mat he couldn't put Ikeda away. I thought Ikeda was setting up his submissions better by using strikes. In the middle of the match it looked like Ikeda had it with multiple submissions especially a single leg crab. But Ishikawa is a great defensive wrestler in his own right. He navigated out of the submissions but the key was his stand up defense. He was able to catch the big kicks and turn them into legbars. Deeper into the match the more lasting benefit this had. He had a great figure-4 but Ikeda made the ropes he transitioned into a headlock. Ikeda ended up on top it really goes to show you how good Ikeda is at defensive ground wrestling. I think it was Ishikawa that punched Ikeda in the face on the ground with a stiff right to set up a cross arm-breaker. That's what he needed more set up. I loved Ishikawa head butting Ikeda in the back to set up the German. I thought they picked up the urgency in the last five minutes. Ishikawa came flying in with a knee to the head. Ikeda was throwing huge strikes. Big time submissions in the ropes not letting go. Ikeda has a double wrist lock applied as time expires. I like Ikeda on top as rge match went to a draw because if I was scoring on points he won the match. Ishikawa came on really strong at the end but Ikeda mixed in big strikes and submission defense to put together a complete performance. He was letting Ishikawa take him down because he knew he could survive. Ishikawa needed to set up via submissions better as he was relying on his superior takedown ability. Ishikawa can really take a lick and also got better at defending the strikes of Ikeda. It was fitting that such an even, defensive struggle ended in a draw. ****1/2

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Borderline excellent 30 minute long shootstyle match, which was, needless to say, insanely stiff throughout. I mean, it's a given these two will beat the daylights out of eachother, but for 30 minutes straight is impressive. Matwork was very good too also. They would play up the striker/grappler dynamic, but Ikeda would slowly keep gaining advantages on the mat. Ishikawa tries trading fists with Ikeda early and just got destroyed with a brutal savate kick that left him glassy eyed on the floor. Frustrated, he would then more often than not try to target Ikedas injured mid section. While the body of the match wasn't exactly spectacular it never got stale due to enough danger and interesting submission work being present. End run had some crazy strike exchanges and suplexes. Ikeda launching his deadly assault only for Ishikawa to step on his guts was such a simplistic, intense ending. Match was different even from your usual BattlARTS stuff and delivered.

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